NaNoWriMo – Halfway Mark

Tomorrow is the half way mark to my NaNoWriMo adventure this year. From here on it is close to the home run.

During NaNoWriMo I spend much time in coffee shops and at the library to make sure I sit somewhere where I can concentrate. NaNoLondon always hold phenomenal write-ins where I get a lot done, they’re fun and the creativity that flows around the table is an amazing thing to be part of.

Working as a freelance coach, I often work on my own, and as a writer it often becomes the same, therefore I appreciate NaNowriMo month in many different ways, not only the novel at the end, or the pride of keeping the discipline writing daily, but also the community that NaNoLondon has become. It doesn’t matter if you’re joining in the conversations or not, you can sit and be part of the creative buzz that surrounds the tables.

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NaNoWriMo – First Week

First week is over. Seven days of writing.

I have found some problem with my novel. Mostly it is about language. As you might know, after much deliberation, I decided to write a sequel to my historical novel I wrote several years ago. The problem I have now, is that I wrote the first installment in Swedish. Since then I haven’t written any longer pieces in Swedish, and I find myself slipping into English as I write. Especially when I am in the flow and my brain is just pouring out words. As it has only been a week thus far, I am hoping that once I get further into the story, it will be easier to stick to Swedish all the time, or I will have to spend December translating.

Other than that, I am keeping on top of my word count, chugging along getting the words down, seeing my word count bar on the NaNoWriMo site slowly growing.

How is your novel going? Are you keeping on top of your word count? Or your personal goals?

If you are not doing NaNoWriMo this year, how are you spending your time in November?

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November – FIRST

All through 2018, on the first day of the month I will publish a photograph and journal about what it means to me. This is an exercise I will do to further develop my writing.

If you have the time and inclination, you can join me in the comments below and you can find my previous FIRSTS here.

Tonight is the start of NaNoWriMo, which is why I am up at midnight to start my novel. It feels fitting that the first thing I would highlight is my NaNoWriMo folder. It is battered and old. It has followed me on many noveling journeys and now it has become a totem of success. It proves to me that I can make it through this crazy writing endeavour and I will come out on the other side tired but happy.

11. November

NaNoWriMo Folder

It has been taped several times, but I don’t want to get rid of it because there is something magic about it. It brings out positivity, with this folder close at hand I know that I can do it one more year. 50 000 words. One word at the time. 1667 at the end of each day.

Good luck to everyone joining me at this adventure today. I’ll see you on the other side! If you want to buddy up I’m j.ejebjork on the NaNoWriMo site.

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NaNoWriMo is near

It is close now. Only a week left until the start of NaNoWriMo.

Even though I have participated for years, I can’t help but feel excited that it is soon upon us. (If you haven’t heard about this writing challenge before follow the link above and feel free to drop me any questions you might have).

I have decided to try to write the sequel to my historical novel. For a long time I was dithering whether I should pick something else or not. I haven’t done enough research around the era, but I have a decent outline and I think that if I work from that I will be able to do it and do any additional research afterwards.

My plan is complete and if I execute it the way I intend to do it will work and will get to the end.

Time will tell. 30 days to be exact. 30 days of fascinating, frantic, fantastic writing.

Is anyone else doing NaNoWriMo this year? If you want to buddy up my username on the NaNoWriMo site is j.ejebjork

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Longer Nights

It’s getting darker in the mornings and evenings. The end of daylight savings will change that a little bit, but it’s still marching towards darker times. I am not an autumn/winter person, I miss the sun too much and can never get used to getting up when it’s dark outside and not return home until it’s dark again.

During these winter months I slow down, my plans get less adventurous, I spend more time at home and worst of all I care less about my physical health. It is something I try to change every year by getting into good routines during the lighter months, but once it turns darker in the evenings, I struggle to keep up with them.

This year it has helped me a bit by using a new exercise app on my phone and I hope to keep up with it during the next months before lighter evening return again. It’s a Catch-22 when I know I should keep taking better care of myself, because it will make me feel better and make me preform better but at the same time my mind stops me from doing so.

This post turned darker (no pun intended) then I had meant it to be, but I write about things that are on my mind at the moment. Here’s to a count down to Christmas when we once again will go towards lighter evenings!

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Book Review

Sometimes when reading non-fiction books I come across a book that I am nodding along to all the way through. Men Explain Things to Me, and other essays by Rebecca Solnit is one of those. I agreed with almost everything Solnit was saying as self-experienced or simply agrees with my world view.

The I stop to think and wonder if I subconsciously picked the book because I knew it would agree with me as compared to picking topics and books because I want to learn more. Should I pick a book on a topic I disagree with? To broaden my mind for other thoughts or would that simply cause my brain to further cement itself in the thoughts that ‘we’ are in the right and ‘they’ are wrong? In school I learnt how to read critically, but with a book like this where I agree with a lot of tings do I stop thinking critically in favour of the opinions in the book. Interesting thoughts when I finished this short book of essays.


This book has a beautiful cover and even more important inside. It is short essays on feminism, men, women and the world. It is a subject that is close to my heart and therefore I think her essays really touched me.

It is difficult to stay objective when most things Solnit writes rings true to me and I am in agreement when it comes to how women are treated in a patriarchal society (not by all men).

I was very excited when I saw a new essay collection (The mother of all questions: Further Feminism) by Solnit in Foyles the other day.

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It is less than a month left for my biggest writing challenge of the year, NaNoWriMo (Yes I know I’m going on about it). I am right in the middle of Preptober. Simply this mean I am doing everything I can to make sure that November runs smoothly and I can spend as much time as possible to write.

This is something I consider myself somewhat an expert on. It comes back to planning, one of my favourite things to do. I think of every possible thing that can go wrong and set up possible solutions for it. Not only in the writing world but small things as well such as avoiding scheduling any important decision making during November, making enough meals ahead for the days when I am too tired to cook anything and so on.

Something I also do during Preptober, which has become an important part of my process is to set writing milestones and small rewards when reaching them. I usually do my first reward already after 5000 words, that is about three days worth of writing during November, shorter if one of the first days happen to be a write-in with my fellow London WriMos. I find that simply knowing that I have rewarded myself something on paper will make it easier to reach my target. There are several years when I have not actually used my reward simply because I haven’t had the time (rewarding myself a cinema ticket for example) and then by the end of November I have forgotten all about it, heading in to the holiday period and end of term preparations. It is not the actual reward itself that is important to me, but rather the knowledge that I can reward myself.

There is something on my list though this year that I won’t forget to reward myself with, which is Elly Griffith’s new book Stranger Diaries, which is published in November. She is an author I adore and I have been looking at that book since it first started to make its way around Bookbloggers and Booktubers.

What are you doing to prepare for NaNoWriMo, or another big project? How important are rewards to you?

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October – FIRST

All through 2018, on the first day of the month I will publish a photograph and journal about what it means to me. This is an exercise I will do to further develop my writing.

If you have the time and inclination, you can join me in the comments below and you can find my previous FIRSTS here.

10. Oktober

This month the photograph evokes nostalgia with a goody bag from my favourite London store Scandinavian kitchen. This was a ‘secret bag’ of Scandinavian treats and I got lucky that it contained so many of my favourite things from home. But to be honest, on days when I am most homesick, anything Swedish will do.

I associate many things in my life with good food, smells of food, advertising or packaging of foods. It is strange how my brain associate good things in life with food.

Other times when food plays an important part of my decisions are when I decide on my treats to NaNoWriMo challenge as they always contain food throughout the month. Preptober is coming up this month and I can’t wait to decide on my foody treats for hitting my writing milestones.

This month I am also gearing up to cook for Shelftober. I do a lot of shopping in bulk, especially on produce that have a long expiration date. This month I am going through my cupboards and freezer to use up all the extra stuff I have accumulated over the months and save on my food budget at the same time. My goal is to spend £10.00 per week on refrigerator food (milk, veggies etc). And for dessert I have lovely Swedish sweets!

Posted in Firsts

NaNoWriMo thoughts on research

This NaNoWriMo I had planned to do a sequel to my (unpublished) historical world war II novel. However a historical novel requires some (sometimes a lot) research. As I mentioned before I did not get as much writing and research done this summer as I had planned to, which will have an impact on what I chose to do for NaNoWriMo. This historical sequel that has been on my mind for quite sometime is about an era and area I don’t know very much about (Germany post world war two), hence I am reluctant to start this project during an intensive high output challenge like NaNoWriMo.

If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I like planning. I am not a person to throw caution to the wind and go for it, which means when it comes to big tasks or events like NaNoWriMo I want to make absolute sure that I can accomplish the task. My challenge lies in the planning before the big event and once the event starts I can feel confident that I can accomplish the task.

I’m leaning on my strengths in these huge tasks which have served me well in the past, even though I might not be as ‘crazy and adventurous’ as some of the other WriMos out there who sit down on November first and start writing by the seat of their pants. I have promised myself that one year, this is what I will do, but not this year, not yet, I need to be more confident in my crafting ability before I take on that challenge. For now I will see how far I can get in my research this year, otherwise I will pick one of the other ideas I have and let the sequel rest.

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Reading Classics

Every year I try to read at least one classic or modern classic novel. I think it is important to read really good literature, and my reasoning for picking classics as the yardstick is that they’re still around for a reason. These novels can teach us much about history and much about how to write a good, long lasting story. It is always with delight I pick up one of these novels.

This year for the A-Z challenge I was reminded of A room with a view by E.M. Forster a favourite to pick up this year. It is a beautiful written story both for its description of Florence and its surroundings and depiction of society with all its rules and restrictions. To my joy, ‘A room with a view’ was part of the Swedish book sale this year.

F - A room with a view book

I love a book with a beautiful cover

Which book is your favourite classic? Do you come back to it over and over again or is it sitting on your shelf as a lovely memory?

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